Sparse funeral highlights villagers’ isolation

March 28, 2011

QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — A sparsely attended funeral on Sunday in a village surrounded by Israel’s separation wall highlighted the isolation of communities cut off from their neighbors and relatives.

When Sheik A’tta Ash-Shu’ur, an elderly resident of Arab Ar-Ramadin Al-Janubi, passed away Sunday morning, village representative Kassab Ash-Shu’ur requested permission from the Israeli authorities for family members to attend the funeral. According to the representative, 70 percent of the deceased’s relatives live in the West Bank district of Hebron, on the other side of the wall.

West Bank Palestinians living inside the separation wall must apply for permits to visit their relatives who fall outside of the barrier.

Only thirty relatives were permitted entry to the funeral later on Sunday.

Kassab Ash-Shu’ur said, “According to Palestinian traditions, members of [the deceased’s] clan come from all over to extend their condolences.” When Israeli authorities prevented mourners from accessing the funeral, relatives established a place of grieving for blocked attendees on the other side of the wall, Ash-Shu’ur said.

Neighboring villages of Arab Ar-Ramadin Al-Janubi, south of Qalqiliya behind the separation wall, have a population of over five hundred Palestinians, who struggle to access basic services including water and electricity.

Ash-Shu’ur added, “Israel is tightening the restrictions imposed on us deliberately so we leave the area. Residents are smuggling food as [Israeli] soldiers prevent supplies from entering through the checkpoint that is installed in that area.”

The wall was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.


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